Monday, November 13, 2006

The N&O's Curiously Mixed Message

Over the past six months, the N&O has exposed, among other items, the following about Mike Nifong’s professional and personal conduct:

  • That after Nifong ordered the police to perform a photo lineup that violated Durham procedures in multiple ways, “every choice contained flaws or contradictions . . . The woman recognized 15 players at one viewing but didn’t recognize them at another. She picked out only one player with certainty at both the March and April viewings. He, however, was in Raleigh, not at the lacrosse party. She wrongly identified the player who made a rude comment about a broomstick.” (Neff, October 8)
  • That the former security manager at the accuser’s strip club revealed that, shortly after the alleged attack, “She basically said, ‘I’m going to get paid by the white boys.’” (Neff, Niolet, and Blythe, November 4)
  • That “a woman identified as the accuser in the Duke lacrosse rape case performed an athletic pole dance at a Hillsborough strip club at the same time that the accuser was visiting hospitals complaining of intense pain from being assaulted.” (Neff and Niolet, October 28)
  • That “although Nifong has never heard the woman tell her story, he believes her.” (Niolet, October 1)

  • That a traffic court lawyer who dealt with Nifong recalled, “Working with Mike, you never knew from one day or the other who you’d be dealing with. He would curse you, scream at you, call you names over nothing.” (Niolet, October 1)
  • That “to get warrants, police made statements that weren’t supported by information in their files. The district attorney commented publicly about the strength of the medical evidence before he had seen it. He promised DNA evidence that has not materialized. He suggested that police conduct lineups in a way that conflicted with department policy.” (Neff, August 6)
  • That Nifong emailed other members of the Animal Control Board threatening to resign from the panel because he was “truly dismayed at the number of my fellow board members who signed the Lewis Cheek [petition].” (Ferrerri, August 1)
  • That after the defense forced Nifong to examine the accuser’s cellphone records, “in the middle of a Duke lacrosse party where a dancer said she was gang-raped for 30 minutes, a call was placed from her cell phone to a Durham escort service.” (Neff, July 12)
  • That “hours after a March 13 Duke University lacrosse team party, the woman who said players raped her that night told police changing stories,” according to a police document produced after Nifong’s chief investigator publicly denied that the accuser had ever changed her story. (Neff and Niolet, June 24)
  • That “in the early days of the Duke lacrosse rape case, Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong’s public statements appear to have contradicted certain facts in his own files.” (Neff, June 15)
  • That Duke Law professor James Coleman, after urging appointment of a special prosecutor to handle the case, said, “I don’t think [Nifong is] showing detached judgment. I personally have no confidence in him.” (Blythe and Neff, June 13)
Based largely on the insights gleaned from this and other N&O reporting, earlier this year, three North Carolina newspapers—the Charlotte Observer, the Winston-Salem Journal, and the Rocky Mount Telegram—demanded the appointment of a special prosecutor for the case.

---------

Is it “some kind of travesty” that the figure who compiled this record will continue as his county’s “minister of justice,” where he can oversee even more prosecutions? “Not in my book,” says Steve Ford, N&O editorial page editor.

Does Ford even read his own newspaper? He does, obviously, although his column suggests his skepticism of its reporting. If a trial occurs, Ford writes, the accuser would “have to explain embarrassing evidence such as the video that supposedly shows her performing an exotic dance at a strip club during the same time frame, just days after the alleged attack, when she was telling doctors and nurses she was in severe pain.” [emphasis added]

Does Ford disbelieve the Neff/Niolet story of October 28? Was the video described in that article actually of the accuser’s twin sister? The product of an altered time stamp? Part of a grand defense conspiracy? Ford doesn’t say.

In fact, Ford strongly implies that the defeat of the man exposed in the N&O stories quoted above would have constituted a “travesty of justice.”

“To throw [Nifong] out of office on the sole basis of that performance” exposed in several months of first-rate reporting by his own paper, Ford writes, would “have had the effect of substituting the judgment of voters for the judgment of jurors.”

Actually, as Ford is well aware, it would have done no such thing. Such an outcome would have led Governor Easley to appoint a new district attorney, while allowing Nifong to move into private practice, where his peculiar interpretation of legal ethics no longer would threaten Durham County’s citizens.

Perhaps the new D.A. would have discovered what anyone reading the N&O over the past six months might also have realized—that the case was constructed upon a tissue of procedural violations. Or perhaps the new D.A. would have encountered evidence that actually substantiated the accuser’s claims. A first step in that process might have been speaking with the accuser about the events of the night in question, something that Nifong—as the N&O first revealed—has, astonishingly, refused to do, despite his unusual dual status as prosecutor and person in charge of the investigation after March 24.

Ford then provides a civics lesson—in which he appears to channel the Herald-Sun’s Bob Ashley. “We insist that matters of guilt or innocence be decided according to very specific rules meant to safeguard the rights of both accusers and defendants. What we don't do in this country is decide the merit of criminal charges at the polls,” since “the mix of politics and criminal justice can be volatile, verging on toxic.”

But what should voters do when their region’s major newspaper repeatedly publishes articles showing that their district attorney just as repeatedly violated the “very specific rules meant to safeguard the rights of both accusers and defendants”? Or when the actions of the district attorney himself promote the “volatile, verging on toxic,” mix “of politics and criminal justice”?

Apparently, voters should do nothing beyond indicating “a preference for letting nature take its course.” Perhaps Durham County should simply have canceled its district attorney election.

What should happen now? Option One: Ford says that Nifong’s duty is “to seek justice, which means treating defendants fairly as well. As we’ve said on this page before, if at any time he loses confidence that he can prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, he should let the charges drop.” Nifong must have chortled as he read that admonition.

Option Two: The case should go “to trial,” where “at least jurors will make the decisions on the basis of all the available evidence and on the strength of testimony under oath.” Ford’s message to other prosecutors in the Triangle appears to be the following:

If you’re in a tough primary or general election and a politically enticing case comes along, exploit it for all it’s worth. Even if you violate every procedural guideline in the book, and even if your misconduct is then exposed in our own paper, the N&O’s editorial page nonetheless will describe your motives as possibly “noble,” and will demand that the case go to trial despite your misconduct.

And what should Nifong’s fate be? According to Ford, perhaps he “should have some explaining to do” to the State Bar when the case ends.

A question for Ford: the last time the N&O exposed massive prosecutorial misconduct came in the Alan Gell case. Should how the state bar ultimately treated the Gell prosecutors have deterred Nifong from engaging in misconduct?

A hint: The answer to this question has two letters—the same two as the abbreviation of the paper whose editorial board Ford oversees.

51 comments:

Joe T. said...

I can't be the only one wondering how Nifong's highly questionable (at the very least) qualities will affect Durham County opinions on his seeking the death penalty in another upcoming case (capital punishment always being an explosive issue even in the smoothest of circumstances).

Anonymous said...

Neff's excellent reporting aside, the editor, the editorial page editor and the publisher have much to answer for in this outrageous case of prosecutorial abuse.

Anonymous said...

This blog used to be interesting, but I am finding it a bit tiresome of late. All the insights and logic have been replaced by diatribes against those who disagree. You can't effectively criticize Nifong while you become Nifong. Leave the shunnings and the enemies lists to others. Let truth and logic rule the day.

Anonymous said...

Just a Study of the HEADLINES used in the N&O reveals their terrible, outright bias in this case.

One ONLY has to look at the Headlines to figure out the N&O.

The N&O can't help but return to Nifong's side for they are birds of a feather.

_

Anonymous said...

Both Ford and Bob Ashley want us to think that a jury trial is something akin to the democratic voting process. Thus, what they really are saying is this: Since people disagree about this case, why not have a jury vote on it? The implication is that the jury somehow will "get it right."

If that is true, then why did the N&O go to the trouble a few years back of writing a series on wrongful convictions? If we are to follow the logic of Ford and Ashley, a jury vote is all that is needed to "settle" the matter.

A criminal proceeding is NOT another day at the polls. We are not dealing with political campaigns, but instead a series of events that will determine whether or not three young men will spend many years in prison.

In many criminal proceedings, we often do not know much of the evidence before it goes to trial, but we do know a lot about the Duke case. We know that in the first go-round, the accuser picked out someone who was not even there. We know that the fateful lineups were legally flawed, and legally flawed to the point where precedent cries out for the dismissal of charges made as the basis for the "linuep."

Even as bad as the courts have been, there is a probability of one that an appellate court will throw out the charges, even if a Durham jury engages in "reverse jury nullification" and convicts. We also know the details of how Nifong violated the various bar association codes of conduct; that is transparent.

But Ford and Ashley are trying to tell us that these things don't matter. All that matters is a vote of 12 individuals.

Yet, the history of law in this country tells us that these procedures DO mean something. But I guess that when people choose to pretend that something is not happening, they can convince themselves of anything.

William L. Anderson

Anonymous said...

1.the defense says it has an open and shut case so why all the angst over going to trial?

2.trials by jury of peers is supposed to be a democratic process and is in the bill of rights. just because some rich white boys who dislike going to trial to be questioned on thier behavior have decided they do not want a trial, now suddenly a trial is not democratic and trials should not be held for people indicted in durham county indicted by not one but two grand juries. the above viewpoint is absurd on its face. they were charged with several felonies by a woman who identified them with fillers as some of the lacrosse players pictured were not at the party and then they were indicted by two seperate grand juries. such persons generally stand trial here in durham county. if they are tried and convicted then they can always appeal and since they have deep pockets they will certainly have a huge team of attorneys to help them do it. since the defense has an open and shut case of innoncence according to them, then there is no need to worry about conviction at all.

Anonymous said...

6:58, I think you are a child molester and that you committed your crime at 6:30 this morning. Oh, so you can prove you were at home with your family at 6:30 this morning? Save it for the judge, child molester, rapist! If you are innocent, then certainly you shouldn't mind being charged and waiting for, then undergoing a trial. Just remember that in Durham, should you retain defense counsel, that act is a strong indication that you are guilty. Oh by the way, should you be found guilty, no problem; you can always appeal. (I really DO think there is something in Durham's water!) sic semper tryannis

Anonymous said...

I guess we have it. The previous poster basically is telling us that juries in North Carolina don't make mistakes, or if they do, then it really does not matter. Furthermore, we get the "rich white boys" comments that are translated: We don't care about right and wrong in Durham because race is all that matters.

The poster seems to think that trials and convictions and appeals are little more than inconveniences. Tell that to the wrongfully-convicted people in the Little Rascals case that spent years in prison, having to endure the "reprisals" for being "child molesters."

Tell that to Alan Gell, who spent years on death row after being wrongfully convicted due to prosecutorial misconduct. Was it a mere inconvenience to await execution for something he did not do?

I would suspect, contra Cash Michael's recent email to Liestoppers, that the mood of the black community in Durham is to ignore exculpatory evidence and simply convict solely because the defendants are "rich white boys." Yet, we are told that they can receive a "fair trial" in Durham.

William L. Anderson

Anonymous said...

William,

Peruse these files about another famous trial in 1692 and note the chilling similarities...

Salem Witch Trials

Walter Abbott

Anonymous said...

I am not a rich white male. I am not a rich white female. I am a rape survivor and for poster 6:58 am to say what you have said I think you should be indicted, brought in front of a jury and convicted just for being a mental moron. Most of the people in durham don't care about the fact these boys are innocent, and the fact that the accuser is a lying drug addicted, whore.

The so called accuser's ID was wrong on many fronts, see picked out a person that was not even at the party or even in Durham as one as her attacker.

Nutfong has to put her on the stand and the defense is get to chew her up and spit her out for lunch.

Just so you know I can get an indictment on MLK, JR. right now but proving the crime is something different.

Anonymous said...

One of the saddest aspects of this case is the implicit belief by many people that for a DA to indict innocent people in order to win an election is no great sin, sort of on a par with a congressman who votes for wasteful pork-barrel spending in order to appease his constituents. Let the DA win his election and then let the wrongly indicted get their remedy at a trial. How sad, and expensive, for the wrongly accused, and for Durham.

Anonymous said...

I believe that the Duke administration's attempt to paint the LAX party as the moral equivalent of rape is reprehensible. Let's face it; the administration is trying to deflect from Brodhead's conduct and the conduct of many Duke faculty members.

Yes, Brodhead and company must walk a fine line in a community like Durham, where resentment of Duke University apparently is rampant. But, contrary to the administration's talking points, the LAX team did not create the crisis. Nifong and the Duke administration managed to do that by themselves, with help from the N&O and the Herald-Sun.

Again, I do not approve of hiring strippers and the entire "South Park" culture that prevails today on college campuses. But the LAX team is not responsible for that culture; the players might participate in it, but they did not create it.

Yet, the administration tries to hint (with help from its acolytes) that Nifong is JUSTIFIED in his pursuit of the case and the procedures he has employed because of the party. Somehow, I do not believe that the out-and-out use of a rigged lineup in order to hastily obtain indictments just before an election is anything but an attack at the very heart of this country's system of justice. And we are supposed to applaud this blatant disregard for rule of law?

William L. Anderson

Anonymous said...

Duke chose to ignore 20 other stripper parties on campus or held by students where the outcome could have been like the lax party. This includes the storied basketball team. They looked the other way 20 times until the parties were brought to the attention of the public. Vacuous Hypocrites All.

Anonymous said...

why are you presuming that all juries in nc make mistakes? or is it that they only make mistakes when the defendants are white, Prof. anderson? all the people you mentioned who were falsely accused were white. i believe that is not a coincidence and i believe you have made up YOUR mind about who is innocent and who is guilty based on their race and you want to excuse the boys will be boys behavior be trying to justify it. well, you are going to have some more to justify soon as word is that there is a big leak coming from nifong any day now that is disastrous for the duke 3 and all this "they are completely innocent" garbage will be be questioned. btw, the black community is not promoting the prosectution of innoncent men for payback as most of the community does not think they are innocent at all.

Anonymous said...

Didnt nifong state, why would i examine her cell phone? I could see why an attorney would not want to go up against him in court.

Anonymous said...

Those of us that know these boys, knew immediately that there was no way a rape occured that night. No one has ever claimed they are perfect boys. We still do not in any way condone the one racial slur, but we also know that they abhor racism and they abhor any kind of violence against women.
Can only imagine what 'leak' Liefungus has. Probably more of his made up propaganda or 'investigative' reporting.

Anonymous said...

Exactly -- Nifong has given plenty of evidence of irrationality.

HMan said...

To 9:44
I noticed that you said that Nifong was about to leak something damaging to the defense. Presumably, this will be an actual fact in evidence - a first, by the way, after all of these months.
By this I take it that facts matter to you. Well, we will see. Because if Nifong fails to deliver then you should switch sides, right? Otherwise, you have no right to pretend that facts (other than race) ever matter at all to you.

Anonymous said...

A North Carolina jury also wrongfully convicted Darryl Hunt, who is black, of rape and murder. Furthermore, even after the prosecution was well-aware of exculpatory DNA evidence, it continued to push the fiction of his guilt.

I find it hard to believe that the black community in Durham would be silent of one of their own was indicted in the manner that Nifong indicted the Duke Three. In fact, I would HOPE that the black community would NOT be silent.

I have not been silent in the face of blacks being wrongfully convicted, and I have highlighted the Hunt case in articles I have written.

Virtually ALL of the comments I have read from blacks in Durham either declare the Duke Three because they are "rich white boys" or they resort to conspiracy theories to do away with exculpatory evidence. From Victoria Peterson's "Duke University Hospital tamped with the evidence" claim to the latest -- "Defense attorneys are paying off the other club dancers" -- I have not seen ONE person from the black community actually deal with the real evidence.

Irving Joyner has advocated using rape shield laws to exclude exculpatory evidence, and he also has tried to come up with bogus legal theories to explain away the fact that the lineup used was illegal.

Yes, the Little Rascals defendants were white, and so was Alan Gell. So what is your point? That I should not mention them? If you are in favor of wrongful convictions when they suit your political views, then please say it directly, and not using convoluted language of race.

William L. Anderson

Anonymous said...

I think I need to add one more thing. The poster has openly declared that I believe the Duke Three are innocent BECAUSE they are white. If I believed them to be guilty, I would want them punished.

I believe them to be innocent, however, because of the evidence, and because of the dishonest way Nifong has pursued this case.

Furthermore, two of my adopted children are black, so the poster is claiming that I hate my own children. Perhaps that person can come up where I live and tell my children to their faces that their father hates them. They would tell that person a very different tale.

I have NOT made any racially-charged statements, nothing akin to anything Nifong or others have said about "rich white kids." So, please, let us stick to the evidence.

William L. Anderson

Anonymous said...

The one thing I think the AA community has missed in all of this is that we actually care what happens in Durham. We are appalled at how Liefong has handled this case. We worry about the Duke 3 but we also worry about how the 'minister of justice' would also treat the citizens of Durham. We are talking about justice here. IF the AA community is so convinced that these boys are guilty then they are completly ignoring the facts in this case and God help them all for the next four years !! They really need to start seeing the big picture here!!
OPEN your eyes people........

Anonymous said...

Am getting a little tired of the 'rich white boys' angle that keeps being referred to. OK, some of these boys have money but most of them do not. Most of the players are from middle class families who believe in hard work and getting a good education.
This case is about a rape (that did not occur) and justice. It should have nothing to do with 'money' or racism. Stop making it into something it isn't.

Anonymous said...

There is something else that needs to be said. The defense used by the attorneys is basically the same defense they would be using if their defendants were black. The "Our Hearts World" website has accused the attorneys of being racists, so a bit of truth might be in order here.

Nifong is basing this case solely upon the accuser's testimony. He has nothing else to back him up, and that includes the medical information that was gathered at the hospital. If there were DNA and medical evidence, as well as other such issues, the defense would have to work on multiple fronts.

Because the entire case is based upon the accuser's claims, the defense strategy MUST be about challenging her statements to the police, the manner of how she chose the defendants, and the timing of the IDs and the indictments. If the defendant was dancing at a club at the same time the police were saying she was so badly injured that she barely could sit up, that is RELEVANT information. To pursue such information, contra many of th posters, is NOT racist. It is what BLACK male defendants would demand of their own attorneys.

Over the years, the LAX attorneys have represented black clients. Is the Durham black community now trying to tell us that Joe Cheshire, Kirk Osborne, and the others really are vicious racists who were trying to misrepresent their own clients? Has any client ever successfully accused them of racism?

As for the upcoming Nifong "leak" that supposedly will blow open the case, I think we have to keep a couple things in mind. First, Nifong is under a gag order, so if he "leaks" information, he is engaging in contempt of court and risks his prosecution. Second, given the exculpatory evidence we already have seen, I have serious doubts that he can spin anything else into real evidence.

William L. Anderson

Joe T. said...

anonymous 7:46 : If you want to see some VERY scary similarities between the Salem Witch Trials and this case, go to the Our Hearts World blog and see some of the delusional religious-fanatic emails stating that anything that's come out favoring the defense is simply Satan's tricks.

Anonymous said...

i have never,ever, seen the defense attornies around here treat a white female the way they have treated the accuser, never. the rest of the black community has not seen this either and that is why they are castigating the defense as racist. we know this bullshit when we see it.

and prof. Anderson, if you have black sons, i feel sorry for them. start saving up now because they are going to need some heavy duty therapy with the likes of you raising them like a lot of the black children raised by whites who have raised a bunch of maladgjusted people unable to cope with the racist society created and perpeutated by whites in this country. there was a reason that the black social workers association came out againist interracial adoption but their suggestion was ignored.

Anonymous said...

K.C.,

I have not uttered any racist statements or profanity on this blog. The poster has made her statements, and the speak for themselves.

William L. Anderson

HMan said...

To 12:38
Do you think that the accuser is telling the truth? About anything? If yes, please be specific. If NO then just how nicely and respectfully do you think she should be treated?
Filing a false police statement is a crime. Sometimes, it is an extraordinarily destructive crime.

KC Johnson said...

The 12.38 comment is disturbing in a variety of ways--not least for its attack on Bill Anderson.

Also, the defense attorneys have actually had very little to say about the accuser (to my recollection, neither Reade Seligmann's attorneys nor Collin Finnerty's attorneys have said anything about the accuser).

It's true, of course, that much damaging information has come out about the accuser. But the overwhelming majority of this information has come from (a) police files; or (b) the media.

It's hard for me to believe that if a white woman had the same background of the accuser, all of this information wouldn't have come out in the same way.

Of course, if the accuser were a white woman, Nifong would have had no political benefit in pursuing the case.

Anonymous said...

Dear 9:44am Can you read? Do you know what DNA means? Apparently not..... I don't know what big rumor is going around but I can assure you that Mike Nifong wouldn't have waited this long to pull out anything. DNA is an exact science, and there is NOTHING, NADA, NO EVIDENCE at all that shows there was any crime at all. Learn to read the facts for yourself.

Anonymous said...

K.C.,

I appreciate your comments. Again, the person's words speak for herself.

What is interesting is that I live in a lower-income neighborhood with a number of black neighbors. Curiously, none of them have attacked us for having black children and, in fact, they have been quite supportive. So, for someone to say that my wife and I adopted them out of some sort of racist frenzy is something new.

Actually, the demands by the black social workers (who declared that inter-racial adoptions were a form of genocide) led to a large number of black children languising in foster care, as it became much more difficult to get them adopted. This problem led to a relaxing of those rules.

Now, I doubt that the poster is interested in any of that. She definitely has made up her mind, and anyone who says the accuser is lying can only be doing so out of racial hatred.

People are entitled to their opinions, but the problem as I see it is that her attitude most likely reflects the attitudes of a large portion of the potential jury pool. If jurors are going to interpret any challenging of the accuser's statements as just racism and nothing else, then I do not see how the Duke Three even would be able to mount a defense, given those odds. Obviously, that is why people like Nifong and Irving Joyner are demanding the trial be held in Durham. That way, they can get their conviction, and then go home.

By the way, if one goes to the webpage of the Innocence Project, one finds that the majority of men cleared in rape charges are black. The issues we are raising here ARE important to black men, and I only wish the black community in Durham could see that. Unfortunately, I guess they are willing to throw them overboard in order to gain an obvious wrongful conviction.

William L. Anderson

Anonymous said...

Bill, your statement that the LAX players did not create the crisis, Nifong and the Duke Administration managed to do that by themselves, is a complete joke. This is a great example of an LAX team supporter trying to help the players avoid responsibility for their own actions. The truth is that the LAX players are the ones primarily responsible for creating this mess, and only the most fanatical LAX team apologists would try to deny that fact.

Anonymous said...

8:46 ALL the lax players didn't plan that party (nor did all attend.)
You don't think that Nifong (an avowed Duke hater) should be held to a higher standard than a bunch of college kids?
You don't think Nifong enjoys causing pain for ALL Dukies? He could have stopped this train wreck from DAY ONE.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Nifong is blameless. Just doin' his job. The LAX players are guilty, even if they didn't rape anyone. Why? Well, they did like the basketball team and hired strippers (or at least the captains hired strippers, not the entire team). Obvously, that means they must be so bad that they have to charged with crimes against humanity.

Why should we even hold a trial? What ever happened to summary judgment?

Bill Anderson

Anonymous said...

9:00 PM, I did not express myself clearly. Obviously, Nifong has played a key role in creating this mess, and I have no objection to the reference to Nifong. What I object to is the reference to the Duke Administration. The idea that "the LAX players did not create the crisis ... the Duke Administration managed to do that" is a joke.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it is better said that the Duke Administration responded rather poorly to the problem. From what I know of the events both at the party and afterward, I will say that it was not ALL Brodhead's fault, by any means.

And, no doubt he is a nice person, and from what the LAX parents tell me, he certainly is sympathetic to them, even if he has bumbled.

My specific objection deals with the administration's talking points that say that the LAX players were bad actors, and that the party was a singularly bad thing, and that no one else at Duke hires strippers and the like. Granted, the administration is following the advice of the lawyers.

There is more and I really am not at liberty to say, but I do have some sympathy for Brodhead. (Yes, believe it or not, and I know I have lambasted him in print probably more than he deserves.) But the way that Nifong and the administration chose to deal with the problem, and the way that the administration has coddled the Gang of 88, is without excuse. On that, I do not back down.

Bill Anderson

Anonymous said...

I am going to take the liberty of defending K.C. in his criticisms of the Duke administration. One of the saddest things that has come out of this episode -- other than the false charges -- has been the response of the Gang of 88 on the Duke faculty.

I think I understand just how seriously K.C. takes his job. And part of that job is to take the time to get to know one's students, and to treat them as human beings. My guess is that he treats them well, and they appreciate it.

Watching professors basically libeling STUDENTS THEY ACTUALLY HAD IN THEIR CLASSES is something that K.C. -- and I, for that matter -- finds very, very hard to take. This, people, is personal. I could never imagine saying these things about students, and especially students who had done well in my classes.

Yes, I have given Brodhead a hard time, but at least I think I would like to have Brodhead for a neighbor. On the other hand, Peter Wood is not fit to be on any faculty, publications and the like notwithstanding.

What Wood and some of his colleagues have done is without excuse and is beyond the pale. And to think that these guys did it without even a hint of reprimand from the administration.

As strongly as I feel about my own students -- and I know K.C. feels the same -- I simply cannot excuse this kind of behavior. If you are not a teacher, perhaps you might not understand, but the Duke administration, by its silence, de facto encouraged members of its faculty to utterly betray their students.

Again, I cannot emphasize enough just what a crime I believe this to be. For that matter, the Gang of 88 has done far greater human damage than any stupid things done by the LAX players. Perhaps the anonymous blogger cannot understand my feelings here, but I will say outright that if a teacher believes he or she has the God-given right to libel his or her students and to openly attack them, then that person needs to find another line of work.

And, again, I will NOT back down from those statements no matter what any blogger might post. Without apology.

Bill Anderson

Anonymous said...

To 8:46pm What on earth did Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty do to create this lax mess???? Name ONE thing.

Anonymous said...

Bill, I agree with your comments about the group of 88, and I agree that in retrospect, it would have been better if Brodhead had hit back at them as soon as their little hit piece appeared in The Chronicle. However, I do not believe that Brodhead should be injecting himself into the criminal process on behalf of the LAX players or that he should be pressuring the local authorities to dismiss the case before trial. And I certainly do not think he has done anything to deserve the insults that some of the people on this web site have been throwing at him.

I do not think anyone is suggesting that no one else has hired strippers. Unfortunately, this is the party that blew up so this is the party that is getting all the attention. Also, the fact that others may have hired strippers does not absolve the LAX players of responsibility for their actions. In this case, the consequences are out of all proportion to what they did, but I think that is one of the risks you take when you put yourselves into this kind of situation.

I have a lot of sympathy for the players and their families, but I think they need to dig themselves out of this mess with the assistance of their lawyers and that they should not be blaming their problems on Brodhead and the Duke Administration.

KC Johnson said...

I agree completely with what Bill said about the Group of 88: the actions of the Group, plus figures like Peter Wood and Orin Starn, were, and are, unconscionable.

On Brodhead, my consistent contention has been that a university president cannot accept a situation of a "separate-but-equal" system of justice for his own students, where students at his school are treated according to different procedures simply because they go to Duke. This pattern applies not only to the Nifong photo lineup but the Durham Police's official policy of disproportionately meting out punishment to Duke students.

It would seem that parents would have to think long and hard about sending a son or daughter to a school where they knew their child would be treated according to "separate-but-equal" from local authorities.

Moreover, there have been a variety of actions from the Duke administration--the Duke Alumni Association "talking points," Brodhead's public remarks, especially his June 5 statement--that have gone out of their way to frame the case against the players in the most negative light possible. This suggests, as Jason Trumpbour has noted on the DBR board, that Duke administrators seem to be allowing a personal dislike of the lacrosse players to be coloring their actions.

HMan said...

To 11:22
There seems to be something so delicious about the idea of Duke LAX guys getting crucified over having a stripper party that some of you will go to any lengths to justify it.
In what sense did that party "blow up" except that an utterly corrupt DA decided to take an obviously bogus accusation and run with it?
You guys seem to be implying something that I have trouble understanding. It is as if there are some assumptions you make but only hint at when you say "they brought it on themselves." Are you in fact saying that they should have known that southern DAs are breath-takingly corrupt? Because without Nifongs quite amazing corruptness, this whole thing would have gone away back in April.
See, I am not from there so I do not assume law enforcement will act this way.
Or am I still not getting it? In what imaginable sense should the LAX guys have known that inviting strippers into a party would get them indicted for rape - EVEN IF THEY COULD PROVE THEY WERE INNOCENT FROM THE START???
Seriously. Help me here. I don't live in a place like Durham and I feel completely lost.

Anonymous said...

To 11:22
You indicate that it seems right to you that the LAX guys be left alone by Duke to extricate themselves from this "mess".
That would have been wondeful had that happened. It is a bit late, don't you think, for Dukedom to pretend neutrality? Brodhead said what he said. The shameful 88 have rescinded nothing. It was only after that poisoning of the waters that you say, "Now leave them alone."
If you help push someone into deep water and then throw them an anchor instead of a life-perserver - that person might well save their own life but how do you think they will regard you forever-after.
If Dukedom has any legal liability - and it looks like they do - the LAX guys families can be expected to press the matter without mercy or restraint.
Or do you expect that they will just say "Well heck, we knew Duke is in North Carolina, we should have known better??"

Anonymous said...

From 11:02
"but I think that is one of the risks you take when you put yourselves into this kind of situation."

Are you talking about a student deciding to attend a school that condones "separate-but-equal justice?"

allie said...

"why are you presuming that all juries in nc make mistakes?"

because they have people like you on them.

people who will stubbornly cling to their own prejudices in spite of any facts or evidence to the contrary.

you seem convinced nifong has some ace up his sleeve, some huge bombshell he's just waiting to drop. so if that never happens, if the evidence stays exactly what it is right now, will you admit you were wrong and agree that they're innocent? yeah, I didn't think so. and that's why you're part of the problem.

Anonymous said...

When this party occured there was NO WAY these players would ever have known that it would blow up like it has. Why? NOT because they held a party as thousands of Duke students do each weekend, BUT because you had a lying 'accuser' a lying DA and a lying DPD. UNFORTUNATLY the boys have found out the hard way ...IT IS VERY HARD TO FIGHT LIARS!!!

Anonymous said...

Seems to me this whole mess would not be around if one of the nurses had not asked the accuser, "Have you been raped?" At that point, I don't think she had figured out a good excuse for her condition, which based on her prior legal problems, would likley have landed her in more trouble. The nurse's question gave the accuser the 'out' she needed and seeing how quickly it got her out of trouble she just played along.

Does anyone know if the accuser did make a statement that she had been raped or did she just answer 'yes' to the question?

As for those folks who say the best way to handle this is through a trial, I would like them to explain how the two boys who have been booted from their university get that year back. How does Evans get the job back that he lost due to this case. How does Finnerty get his record in D.C. cleared up--as you recall this case caused him to be convicted in a very minor case in D.C.

The bottom line is these boys have been deprived of their civil rights in this case. The same civil rights that would bring out the likes of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and the black panthers, were the colors reversed in this case....there is no question that if black leaders in the U.S. made a big to-do about this, Durham would be crawling with feds. Unfortunately we have reached a very sickening level of reverse discrimination in this country.

I find it very unusual that someone with some clout, either at Duke or a Duke alum, cannot convince the feds to step in and take a hard look at the situation. It is clear that the governor and NC attorney general will not get involved due both being weak Democrats. Probably the most disgusting figure in this whole affair is Dick Brodhead. I cannot believe that he sits back after all the evidence shows innocence and refuses to call for someone at the federal level to help the cause of three of his students.

Anonymous said...

KC,

You have a way of pontificating about things that really turns me off. For example, in one of your comments above, you say that "it would seem that parents would have to think long and hard about sending a son or daughter to a school where they knew their child would be treated according to separate-but-equal from local authorities." Duke has approximately 12,000 students. Would you please tell us how many of those students have been arrested in the past 12 months and what percentage of the total Duke student body that represents. I think this might help us all gain some perspective on just how big a risk a parent would be taking in sending their child to Duke.

Anonymous said...

9:43 You should bear in mind that Nifong had only been DA for a few months when the Hoax began. You can look forward to 4 more years under the reign of Nifong. He has the full backing of the Durham PD, the mayor and the City Manager as well as the Trinity Park residents, etc. Care to speculate as to the rate of Duke arrests going forward? (It's not like the University has been complaining...)

Anonymous said...

11:17 PM, KC has pointed out in prior posts that the Durham Police Department has a history of disproportionately arresting Duke students for minor matters like noise violations, and in his comment above, he suggests that this should cause parents to think long and hard about sending their children to Duke. However, this has been going on for years and has nothing to do with Nifong, so your comment about Nifong having only been in office for a few months is irrelevant. I suspect that the impact of this on the Duke student body as a whole has been so miniscule as to be meaningless and that contrary to what KC has said, it provides no reason whatsoever for a parent to be concerned about sending his child to Duke. This is why I want KC to provide some statistics, so we can see just how big an issue this really is. In fact, we could go further and ask what are the odds that a student at Duke will be affected by this if he is not a member of the men's LAX team?

Anonymous said...

if you were honest instead of full of crap, you would admit that the reason that the durham pd started arresting duke students was that they were not responding to lesser measures. this was reported in the local media when the "get Gottlieb" strategy was used by the defense and his boss at the DPD stated this in the article and the Trinity Park residents also supported Gottlieb and the DPD statements and gave some examples of poor behavior, etc. The fact is that if the little angels had stopped being so disruptive when they were only getting tickets, there would not have been a crackdown and the subsequent arrests. Like the Lax party, duke people have a hard time acepting the consequences of bad behavior and disrespecting others.

Also, KC you are nuts if you think that the defense was not behind each and every story in the media about the victim. they even leaked her sealed medical file to dan abrahms, duke alumnus. the judge later sealed this info because of their actions. They also are behind the video and one of the defense lawyers is in the article explaining why the bouncer/cocaine pusher is very vredible. please give me a break. that is why the black people in durham were angry and voted for nifong. to hell with the lying defense.

Anonymous said...

KC, you have also torn into Brodhead on several occasions for not doing anything to protect Duke students from those DPD officers who have been arresting them for minor matters like noise violations when they should have just been issuing citations. But how do you know that he has not done anything to protect them? Are you privy to every telephone conversation that Brodhead has, to every letter he writes, and to every email that he sends out? How do you know that he has not had telephone conversations or meetings or an exchange of correspondence with Mayor Bell in which he has raised this issue and in which Mayor Bell has agreed to take care of it? The truth is that you do not know squat about any of this, which is one more reason why I do not attach a lot of weight to most of your criticisms of Brodhead.

Anonymous said...

KC, are you trying to dodge the 12:17 AM comment? You have been very quick with the numbers when it suited your purpose, such as when you were condemning Brodhead because only 2.5 percent of the total number of words he has spoken in the last eight months have been to defend the LAX players. But now that someone has challenged your statement about the disproportionate arrests of Duke students, you seem to have forgotten how to do simple math. By the way, if you do decide to man up and answer the question, remember that we are not talking about all arrests of Duke students but only the disproportionate portion of the arrests. If a Duke student is arrested for DUI, that would be a legitimate arrest which does not show any bad conduct by the police. However, if a Duke student is put in handcuffs for a noise violation, that would be an illegitimate arrest which does show bad conduct by the police. So tell us, how many illegitimate arrests of Duke students have occurred in the past 12 months and what percentage of the Duke student population of roughly 12,000 students has been affected by those illegitimate arrests? Is it .0000001 percent or is it something less than that? Once you have finished these computations, we can go on to discuss the merits of your statement that the history of disproportionate arrests of Duke students by the Durham police provides a powerful reason for parents to think twice about whether they want to send their children to Duke.